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Comment Re:Why do I need this? (Score 1) 102

In America, the stoplights have "hoods" on them to prevent them from being seen from any angle other than head on.

Is that what those hoods are for? I always thought they were to make the lights more visible by keeping them out of direct sunlight. Most of them certainly aren't very effective at hiding the color of the lights facing the other direction, whether because the angle is wrong to block the entire light or due to more subtle reflections, often on the inside of the hood itself.

In any case, hiding information about the status of the intersection is counter-productive to ensuring safe and orderly traffic patterns. The more accurate and up-to-date situational data drivers have the better. Rather than directional masks, they should be adding count-down displays visible to all drivers (not just those in late-model Audis) so that everyone has an accurate forecast of when the light will change.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

I agree that the question isn't borders. If you are in Texas, northern Mexico is more "local" than NYC. But in either case, China is not local.

But you're arguing for placing pre-emptive barriers on what you think are "the right level of local". I'm saying, if you have open trade borders and price in the cost of externalities (like a carbon tax), then the market will work itself out in terms of where the "right level of local source" is.

The part that's never zero is called "structural unemployment", and was mentioned in the part that you cut. People between jobs, people who are moving, etc.
But unemployment-because-you-cant-find-a-job is not god-given, and in fact in various countries around the world there have been periods when this unemploymend was zero.

"the upcoming onslaught of automation" - the 60s called. They want their argument back.

I don't know if I buy that. Employment participation rates vary from decade to decade. They vary because people give up on finding a job, not because they don't want one. You may be right that those *with no choice but to have a job* (breadwinner for the family) parts of the population who are systemically unemployed can reach 0, but that's not full employment. Moreover, it's not consistent. You're always going to have periods lasting as long as a decade where some giant shift (such as globalization, or automation) will wipe out entire job sectors. So even if your argument is "those jobs will eventually be replaced", you need *some* solution to the decade-long vacuum those things created. And I don't think impeding progress Luddite-style is the answer. Nor do I think impeding progress "anti-trade" style is the answer either. It's more economically efficient during those times to do something like UBI.

How we are all caught in the Silicon Valley mantra and the Venture Capitalist religion. Most of the really large and powerful companies in the world are not called Google and Facebook. They are energy companies, food companies, and a dozen others. Trade and technology matter, but you buy an iPhone every year while you buy food every day.

This isn't a Silicon Valley idea. Notice I didn't just say tech, I said tech and trade. This is well established amongst economist. All those energy, food, etc. companies are the "trade" part; they find ways to distribute resources more efficiently. Do this simple mental experiment: what if every city was to produce their own crops of every type instead of importing/exporting from other areas? Would that be more or less efficient? Expand that idea to a global scale and you have your answer to why shipping from China or Brazil for certain things can be better.

Comment Re: Americans? (Score 1) 322

Everything you describe is a natural result of a growing population (and thus, more competition for finite resources like land, which naturally causes people to work more to obtain money to buy land). The results would be way worse without people in China making stuff, as in addition to higher land costs, you'd also have higher cost of those gadgets as well.

Just take a look at the numbers. Wages haven't gone down; they've gone up (though for the average man, not by much). In comparison, cost of most daily goods have gone down or stayed flat even though more people are demanding them. Clothes are 1/3 cheaper. Electricity price has barely moved. Food has barely moved.

The only things that are causing people to feel poorer than they were before are housing, medical care and gas. Those are, unfortunately, things globalization and technology have *not* been able to improve for a variety of reasons.

Thinking that somehow, low-cost jobs not moving to China would mean someone in the U.S. would have it is logically incorrect. Without expansion in overall consumption, the population would just grow without any new jobs and every new person born will be out of work until someone dies.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

So in the end, you will make everything abroad, only companies earn money, and everyone lives from the taxes?

I don't think I advocated for *everything* abroad. Simply things that *can* be done abroad more efficiently (generally equates to lower cost). You can think of it as a nationless scenario, where things are produced in the places they're most efficient and best at being produced. Just like within the U.S. you want your almonds to be grown in CA, your silicon design in various hubs and your auto manufacturing in SC and (more so again) Detroit, you'd want to take that model globally. The equivalent of "stop outsourcing" would be like Wyoming blocking imports of almonds from CA just because it wants its own local almond farmers to have business.

What you want is a balance between a strong local economy and beneficial trade.

I'm arguing that free trade finds that balance. The U.S. will invariably be able to do certain things better than anywhere else in the world. The world will naturally import that from the U.S. China will invariably do other things better, so the rest of the world buys that from China. Same with Germany. The point is, let free trade and supply/demand make the decisions of which nation produces what, not tariffs or governments.

But you want to grow your food locally because shipping it halway around the world doesn't improve its quality

If there's truly no loss of quality or cost of growing overseas vs locally then the local farmer will always win. The truth is that for many foods, other nations *can* do produce it more efficiently. Economically, it's better to let them do it and ship it. If your concerns are environmental (and I share those concerns) then impose carbon (and other pollutant) taxes such that the price of externalities like environmental damage are included in the calculation of cost. Once you setup the right framework, you let the market decide. Instead of a web of trade rules that don't get updated often setting "who should produce what".

You do not want people permanently on unemployment benefits.

People *are* permanently unemployed. Not a large percentage of the population but unemployment has never been 0. Ever. I'd say what well-intentioned tariffs we've passed to try to keep unemployment down aren't working very well. And with the upcoming onslaught of automation...I don't see how you *can* keep people from being unemployed for long periods of time.

Rather than cling onto the idea that everyone needs to be employed (when reality obviously isn't letting that happen), perhaps it's time to revisit how we make sure every citizen is taken care of in a post-industrial society and this idea that "everyone needs to work".

There is more to the system then just who makes profits.

Of course there is. I'm talking about wealth, not corporate profit. Not money -- that's only supposed to loosely represent wealth. Trade and technology are the 2 pillars that create wealth: it invents new things (that either generates new resources for people to consume or stretches current resources to further utility) and efficiently allocates resources to where they have the most impact.

Globalization generates wealth. It doesn't address how that's distributed. That's where government *should* step in, the part about distribution. But you don't wanna kill the golden goose in order to divide the eggs up more evenly....

Comment Re:So. 50,000 more H1-B visas need to be issued (Score 1) 322

You should look to Germany to see how a whole population (with an average of 100 IQ) can still be incredibly skilled workers that's irreplaceable by cheap labor. They have wide-open trade policies that allow outsourcing.

When people talk about education it isn't always some 4-year university degree that results in them being a scientist. Better skilled workforce can just mean people who have better vocational training through apprenticeships and/or trade schools. We don't even have that today.

It can also mean a more mobile workforce so that if you setup a factory somewhere and know you can get 100k workers in a very short amount of time without having to pay their relocation packages.

China does this to a level you can't imagine.

Comment Re:Americans? (Score 1) 322

No, according to his "logic" jobs that *can* be outsourced while keeping the same quality should be. And he's right. If it can be made cheaper elsewhere with no loss in quality then it should be, because it means the cost of living decreases as the cost of goods decreases.

The key here is "for the same quality". If you want higher pay compared to other countries, you have to provide higher quality. Germany knew this and was able to keep its population employed while having wide-open borders for trade. Their population is, on average, irreplaceable by cheap labor because cheap labor isn't capable of doing what its population does -- produce pristine, high-quality machines.

Nobody *deserves* a job. You gotta earn it by being either lower-cost or better skilled. It's true of everything in the free market, why should it be an exception for American workers?

Comment Re:The jobs will be mostly construction jobs. (Score 1) 322

There's no need to blackmail because with automation, the U.S. will be the most cost-effective place to manufacture. So there's no reason to move anywhere. The wrinkle there is that while the manufacturing is in the U.S. (and it's been growing in the US for a few years now), *jobs* aren't going to increase.

Comment Re:A new golden age (Score 1) 322

Whatever number you use for unemployment (whether it be the 9% that includes everyone, or 4% that only includes those seeking work), the net results is that it's going down and has been. Whichever number you use is better than the 2008 number. That includes wages as well (though moving slower than I'd like).

Trump just has to not fuck up. He's being handed the easiest job compared to his predecessors. So far he seems to be doing ok, to my surprise.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 1) 322

In this case, it's Saudi Arabia taking on the debt. This has little to do with Trump and more to do with the Saudi's being desperate and needing to diversify from their single source of income (oil, which is bringing them less and less money). They see this as a 100B$ investment in the US that they can reap returns from. It's a good thing but again, less to do with Trump (though he's taking credit for it).

The U.S. economy has been on an upward tick for a few years now and Trump is going to have the easiest job of any President before him. He just has to not fuck it up.

Comment Re:Be careful how hard you squeeze (Score 2) 322

I agree with a systemic look. Which is why I'm against state-aided companies just to keep people employed. It's economically inefficient.

Despite what people think, moving production to a cheaper location (like China) isn't just beneficial to the Chinese. If you follow economic theory, free-trade isn't just good for exports, it's good on the import side as well. Because you get cheaper goods for the same quality.

You don't want to get rid of that. You don't want to slow down the economy by making goods more expensive. What you *want* is to allow companies to make tons of profit, *tax* that profit and use that money to pay people who were unemployed due to jobs moving away.

In that scenario, you grow the overall net amount of wealth and use tax and UBI policy to distribute the wealth.

In the scenario of using tax money to incentivize where manufacturing goes, you shrink the overall net wealth (because manufacturers are being less efficient in terms of money spent per goods produced) just to distribute wealth to those who would've been unemployed.

Systemically, it's less efficient to go the later route than the former. Economically speaking.

Comment Re:Provide this at the state level (Score 0) 278

Here's my homework, teacher: Article 1, section 8: Congress may lay and collect taxes for the "common defense" or "general welfare" of the United States.

This does not equate to a power to spend tax money on (or regulate) anything "for the 'common defense' or 'general welfare'". If Congress's enumerated powers included getting involved in education, this clause would grant them the power to raise money toward that end. It does not grant that power by itself. If it did, the remainder of the section (and the entire concept of enumerated powers) would be rendered meaningless, which was obviously not the authors' or signers' intent.

Don't worry, this is a very common mistake. Your reading comprehension will improve with practice. In the meantime, perhaps you would care to read what Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had to say on the subject.

Comment Re:Not Fed (Score 1) 278

Financially, Congress has the power to tax, borrow, pay debt and provide for the common defense and the general welfare.

You skipped some critical words and punctuation:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; ...

Notice the comma after "Excises"—these are two separate lists, not a single broad power. The power described here is simply "To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises". That's it: to collect money, not to spend it. The purpose of that power is described by the next phrase, "to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States". That is merely clarifying language, tacked on to explain why the money is being collected and not intended to grant any additional powers. In other words, the nature of this power is merely to fund the enumerated powers given by the remainder of the section. If this sentence alone were intended to authorize absolutely anything which might be argued to "provide for the common Defense and general Welfare" then the remainder of the section would be superfluous. That (false) interpretation does away with the entire concept of enumerated powers. The authors and signers obviously did not intend for the enumeration of powers granted to Congress to be superfluous, or Section 8 would have ended immediately after the words "general Welfare".

Don't just take my word for it, though. Consider instead the writings of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison on the subject.

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